President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with other NATO members on Friday morning to reassure eastern allies that they will be protected while Russian troops prepare to enter Kiev.
U.S. intelligence officials are worried the Ukrainian capital could fall within days, CNN reported, as Russian troops are within 20 miles of its location and residents are being urged to make Molotov cocktails to help defend the city.
Amid reports that the Kremlin is after him, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the United States and its allies for leaving his country to fight alone.
“Who is ready to fight with us? I don’t see anyone, he said. “Who is ready to give Ukraine guarantees of NATO membership? Everyone is afraid.
“We are defending our country alone. The most powerful forces in the world are watching this from afar,” Zelensky said.
President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with other NATO members on Friday morning to reassure eastern allies that they will be protected.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the United States and its allies for leaving their country to fight alone.
The Ukrainian National Guard lined up on the streets of Kiev on Friday, preparing to defend the city from a Russian attack, shortly before heavy gunshots and explosions were heard.
US intelligence has reported Russian plans for a military takeover of Kiev and an early end to the war in Ukraine, which say troops and armored vehicles will be used to capture airfields before 10,000 paratroopers are deployed to capture the city. surround the government and force them to sign a peace agreement to return control of the country to Russia.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin offered to send a delegation to Belarus to negotiate with Ukraine, but only on strict conditions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia is ready to send a delegation to Minsk. But Peskov made it clear that Russia expects from Ukraine the “denazification and demilitarization” of Ukraine, that is, the surrender of Kiev.
As the fighting in Ukraine continues, Biden will kick off his Friday with a virtual meeting with 30 NATO members who are concerned about Russian aggression on their eastern flank. Some of NATO’s 30 member countries supply weapons and support to Ukraine, but NATO as an organization does not.
“Make no mistake, we will protect every ally from any attack on every inch of NATO territory,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who will chair the summit, told reporters on Thursday. “An attack on one ally will trigger a reaction from the entire alliance.”
During the meeting, the leaders are likely to consider deploying the NATO Response Force, which could have up to 40,000 troops. The NRF’s 5,000-troop land rapid deployment brigade, led by France along with Germany, Poland, Portugal and Spain, has already been put on high alert.
Some NATO countries are already taking defensive measures as Russian aggression intensifies.
Lithuania declared a state of emergency on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to enter Ukraine. Lithuania borders on the Kaliningrad region of Russia in the southwest. NATO members Belarus in the east, Latvia in the north and Poland in the south.
“We don’t have the luxury of being (a) a debating club,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told an emergency summit of European Union leaders last night that was supposed to impose a “high price” on Russia through sanctions. “We must take action.”
The Baltic members said that the West should “urgently provide the Ukrainian people with weapons, ammunition and any other military support for self-defense, as well as economic, financial and political assistance and support, humanitarian aid.”
NATO began beefing up its defenses in northeastern Europe after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. Recently, some members have also sent troops, aircraft and warships to the Black Sea region, close to allies Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
In the short term, NATO has activated a contingency planning system to enable commanders to move forces faster. On Thursday, the Pentagon said it was sending 7,000 troops to Europe, in addition to 5,000 newly deployed troops.
Independence Square in the center of Kiev, Ukraine
Ukrainian military take positions in the center of Kiev
Soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine take positions in the center of Kiev
In addition, pressure is mounting on Biden to personally impose sanctions on Putin. The US has already imposed sanctions on several members of Putin’s inner circle and many Russian oligarchs who profited from his regime.
On Thursday, Biden said sanctions on the Russian leader remain “under discussion” but declined to answer the question of why Putin has not yet been personally targeted.
The European Union will freeze the assets of Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but will not impose a travel ban on them, according to the New York Times.